Review: Ben's Canteen, St John's Hill

12:10pm Thursday 12th April 2012

Ben’s Canteen sits between Clapham Junction and Wandsworth Common on St John’s Hill.

It is very cool, with wooden floors, a bookshelf with a free book exchange and music being played at the perfect level.

We arrived at the end of brunch and just missed the Sunday roasts but it turned out eating from the brunch menu is no bad thing.

As we were shown to our tables we were asked if we wanted any tea whilst we looked at the menu – that’s a no brainer for me, I always want tea – so we had a couple of mugs of English breakfast to kick us off (£2).

For the main event I opted for their famous “All Day Breakfast Scotch Egg” (£6.50) whilst my other half went for the BC burger with chips (£12.50).

I was slightly concerned that a scotch egg which is normally a snack wouldn’t really cut it, but I needn’t have worried; it was the size of a small easter egg.

It was heavenly – the egg so soft with oozing yolk, the sausage meat spicy and peppery and so moist without being greasy. It didn’t stop there though as it was flecked with chunks of black pudding adding an extra layer of flavour and qualifying the scotch egg as an “All Day Breakfast” one.

The burger, while being delicious, was not so well balanced. It came with a slab of corned beef on top of the burger, smoked cheese and some Ben’s Canteen burger sauce. The meat was great quality and well cooked, but the cheese or the sauce, it was difficult to tell which was so smoky it overpowered the beef.

I am always pleased to get some extra meat thrown in to a dish so I was looking forward to trying the corned beef but unfortunately I couldn’t really tell it was there.

The chips were more like thin wedges cooked with the skin on which was a great idea as it meant they actually tasted of potato, as opposed to the all too familiar mass of vinegary carbs.

For pudding we shared a slice of white chocolate tart with chocolate ganache and raspberry salt (£7) the chocolate ganache was delicious and the raspberry salt took the edge off the sweetness of the white chocolate tart. I think I would have liked some more raspberry flavour or some fresh raspberries on the side to complete it but I’m just nitpicking.

We finished off with an earl grey (£2.20) for me and a bloody mary (£6.50) for my other half, which was a good way to finish. Speaking of a good way to finish, I should mention how wonderful, lovely and tolerant the staff were always smiley, always friendly and sometimes in the face of some horrorbag customers – well done them!

Brunch for 2 - £40

Mark Bixter

Ben’s Canteen | 140 St John’s Hill, SW11 1SL | www.benscanteen.com

Mark Bixter is a food writer who runs the blog http://michelinmicrowave.wordpress.com/

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